Monday, December 3, 2007

Children’s Classes and Home Visits - Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

A Neighborhood Children’s Class in Phoenix, AZ (A) Numerous clusters across the country are finding that children’s classes (and junior youth groups) and home visits are an unbeatable combination. They are learning that home visits to parents (thereby fostering family involvement) are a critical element to sustaining neighborhood children’s classes. Similarly, many clusters report that invitations to a local children’s class can be a natural way of engaging residents of a neighborhood in a teaching program. Either way, a common denominator is that these interactions naturally lead to opportunities to share the message of the Faith. A number of points in this vein were shared by friends in the Southwest Region.
  • Bahá’í children who participate in invitation home visits and are part of the neighborhood children classes form a strong Bahá’í identity and are transformed to teachers of the Cause.
  • Where trained resources reach out, door to door, to children in receptive neighborhoods and establish regular children classes with the larger community teaching becomes a natural way of life. The response is highly positive, encouraging the teachers. The courage that this process instills in the teachers is priceless.
  • Establishing a strong relationship with the parents of children is essential to sustainability of children classes. After the children are engaged in children’s classes, home visits with the family then should focus on what the children are learning.
  • Students are integrating what they have learned into everyday life. For example one child self-corrected herself saying, “That is not a kindly heart.” Anther child when his friend could not find her lost key told the teacher, “We need to have a prayer.”
  • Picking up and dropping off the children back home is the key to relationship building with their families and integration of core activities. The closer the class is held to the home of the seekers the higher their participation.
  • Deployment of mothers as teachers of children classes has been an effective strategy. They see themselves as the mother of ALL the children in the neighborhood, not just their children.
  • Follow closely the lesson plans as laid out in the Ruhi Books.
  • The children are the best instruments, inviting their friends and neighbors to come!

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